tv [untitled] February 19, 2014 2:30pm-3:01pm EST
hello and welcome to cross talk where all things are considered i'm peter lavelle not surprisingly the geneva negotiations to end the civil war in syria have floundered all sides talk to each other to date there hasn't been much listening particularly since the u.s. keeps demanding a transitional government be installed to replace assad can peace be brought to syria if washington's only real goal is regime change. to cross not developments in syria i'm joined by my guest daniel serwer in washington he is a professor at the school of advanced international studies and a scholar at the middle east institute also in washington we have richard rubenstein he is an author and a university professor of conflict resolution and public affairs at george mason university and in berlin we cross to christophe horsetail he is a government consultant and publicist or magellan cross-talk rules in fact that
means you can jump in anytime you want and i very much encourage it richard if i go to you first in washington you know coming out of the geneva conference there looked like it was a planned failure because no one was on the same page the u.s. went there demanding regime change and the assad people said hey we showed up who are we going to talk to there was no one to talk to this was a planned failure. well i don't know if i would call it a plan failure but i think it was i think it was fated to fail. because it was so focused on issues of power. which we knew the parties disagreed about. the united states may have wanted regime change. or russia wanted the rebels to be called the terrorists or the certainly assad regime did. and that sort of rhetoric and that sort of negotiation which in some ways you
could call a traditional negotiation a traditional power base diplomacy is not the same as conflict resolution conflict resolution means getting representatives of the key groups in syrian civil society together not necessarily the political leaders. they may be included in getting them to talk about the the real problems of the syrian people the sorts of things that caused the civil war to begin with those problems were never surfaced never talked about never even mentioned in these as so far as i know in these diplomatic negotiations i mean we're talking about things like the relationship between the religious minority and minority in syria we're talking about things like. who controls the oil revenues and what they what kind of development they should be used for to talk about things like who should be allen who should syria's allies and be. the kind of essential questions that. that that posed questions i would call social constitutional issues there has to be
a forum for dealing with these social i mean two should i think i think also should be the motives are to say most our it is that angle as the most important thing here is the end the violence daniel if i go to you in washington i mean you know it respective of the you know the players involved shouldn't be the primary goal of all of this to end the violence and the death and then worry about what kind of government is going to be in damascus and what the people are going to choose in some kind of democratic process isn't that more important to end the conflict. but the conflict isn't going to end is longers bashar al assad is in power and that's quite clear so. if you want to end the violence you've got to prepare for a political transition there's no question about that ok christophe i mean i don't understand i think is it better to end the conflict here than to worry about political personalities go ahead and berlin. well it's clear we have to
agree on certain facts and the fact is that the syria operation took three years to stage of course you know there was a right good reason for the opposition to demonstrate against such an equal distribution of goods and chances for career and life and things like that that's very clear but we have such a clear cut interference from the outside with more than one hundred thousand mercenaries and even american secret service director mr klepper agreed to twenty six thousand very rediculus only fighters there on the ground who in fact behave like terrorists there turning syria into rubble we have six seven million refugees internally and externally outside the country both so what are we talking about if we insist or if the west insists if the american led
west insist on a regime change what's that and they say unless we have a regime change this kind of warfare will continue this is a kind of nottle mafia group insisting on regime change in the country where they have no say whatsoever not according to the u.n. tartan any legal right would like ok daniel how do you want nothing to do go ahead you know you have been insisting on regime change it's the syrians who are insisting on regime change not the americans there are no one hundred thousand mercenaries in syria this is nonsense of the destruction is being caused that the cia people high volume of forces of the regime and not the rebels christophe you want to react to that go ahead. yeah of course that's that's completely wrong it was this in an assessment which said that assad has the majority of the syrian people behind them and that's fact that's fact and a lot of. experts here in europe at least they say very clearly without assad syria
doesn't stand a chance to you know overcome the terrible results of these this terrible proxy warfare. i'd like to read of that says i we all how i said why aren't i don't have equal time for everyone on this program so richard if i can go to you all during these talks here we know it's a fact it's a fact that the u.s. has been funding what rebel groups it likes i mean they call them moderates i still don't know who they are and the saudis are pouring in all kinds of military hardware i mean you're sitting in geneva trying to find a peaceful resolution and you have all of this money all of this equipment guns and violence going into the country or how can you talk about peace when there are outside parties fueling it on. well to two answers to that there are two comments one is that yes there are there are certainly proxy elements important proxy elements of of this conflict you have the united states on one side and the
saudis here and you have russia on the other side and the iranians so i mean you have a you have you have proxies right to the right and proxies to the left but proxy warfare you can't simply say let's stop doing the proxy warfare you that's just talking into the wind you can't simply say let's have peace that's talking into the wind the way you get to pieces you don't wait for necessarily for a cease fire or even for the end of proxy warfare or you start the talks right now . brahimi leaves and he says he says he's sorry he didn't do it a good job well given the trajectory of job that he was trying to do i think it was impossible now that he if he's talking about starting again either he or somebody else started again there are many many facilitators very talented people skilled people people who know that region who are able and right now to be
conducting talks between key groups in inside syria so that's what should happen in my view and it should have been immediately ok there are in fact if are some plans i'm told for a conference in vienna in a little while where some of this discussion is going to be happening but unless you get the groups together who who are the most directly alienated and lets you get the groups together who are briley created this civil war inside syria it doesn't do any good to be mown the fact that it's become a proxy war or the the moment i let me let me go back to daniel i mean it seems to me that this conference was talking in the wind because the players on the ground that are committing violence and the opposition they don't have any interest in peace talks whatsoever they just want more saudi equipment in american money by the way a lot of them commit human rights atrocities that is well the west likes to focus all of its attention on assad but the the rebels are committing atrocious
activities against civilian populations that don't even want them there and it's christophe pointed out a lot of them are foreigners not even syrians go ahead daniel. i recommend you read the united nations report on the human rights abuses in syria it's very clear that the bulk of the abuses are on the part of the regime it's very clear that the bulk of the foreign fighters and the bulk of the finance and an army is going to the regime as well russia is very much implicated in supporting a regime that is systematically destroying the centers of major cities in syria this is an embarrassment for russia and it will have a look at question if this is the world if it is only we have signed regime is still the illegitimate regime of the syrian people it is internationally recognized that so flush can gain russia anywhere if it is i do say careless groups is illegal
under international law but sovereign countries can do that christophe go ahead i know nothing in internet no other girl priest arms current what we see here is very clearly a reason why the toxins in the that cannot be successful if we cannot acknowledge that the proxy war in syria was prepared from two years ago if we cannot acknowledge that the armed rebel forces be there for a terrorist or whatever are not allowed for compromise because they will lose their funding and their weapons and things like that if we cannot acknowledge that for a solution we have to have on the table at least qatar saudi arabia russia iran and the us and without this you know the poor syrians they can talk their head off and they won't get any which look a look at the group present in geneva in the past that was left by their farces and
they became powerless on the ground in syria due to this and now the opposition is planning to do their own group and then try to be real. presented in geneva and that's talking between the assad government and foreign paid foreign proxies and that's completely a pervert's it's gay and we have. breach of any law in the un caught on anything here and what i'll be talking about between two americans and a job and that's terrible i had this discussion this terrible story ok we're going to go nobody to go to was short break gentlemen after that short break we'll continue our discussion on syria stay with r.t. .
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ok richard i go back to you in washington it looks if you read the tea leaves here or read between the lines the obama admin. station is going to consider using military force again like we saw back in august here do you see that is a possibility right now because it seems like the americans have really no interest in diplomacy here whatsoever went through the motions like i said money and weapons keep pouring into the battlefield more civilians are are trying to leave most of them are moving away trying to escape it looks like you know war is on the agenda again for the united states and it's what is most likely. well it's certainly there's certainly a possibility of u.s. intervention i mean i think the calculus of the calculus of interest still weighs against it but there's a possibility because i think what you know what we really need over there are three peace processes we need we need talks going forward simultaneously on three issues one is the humanitarian crisis in syria if the u.s.
intervenes it's going to be because or at least allegedly because. of a humanitarian crisis. the new york times this morning and other newspapers have been playing up more and more of the suffering in the aleppo and homs and other places been so something has got to be done to immediately to open the door to. to relieving the suffering of the syrian people but of course you can't separate that from the war itself and from the politics of the situation. so if simultaneously it seems to me you do need something like along the lines of christophe was talking about that is to say a multi-party a conference that involves all the major parties including the the proxies that would certainly include iran as well as the saudis. and the united states and the russians. but you must have and most important
a constitutional. process in which the groups within syria decide what kind of syria they want i mean it is their. country they have the right to make that decision on their own they really have not been given the chance to make that decision and arguing incessantly about whether the rebels are terrorists and whether the. there should be a transitional regime and what the transitional regime should list look like right now it seems to me sabotage is bo's the possibility of constitution that's what it certainly looks like sabotage a daniel a do you think the united states now will attack assad assad regime and for speciated states to consider i think the united states will consider a broad range of diplomatic and military option she meant it tyrian options and trying to decide. what will push the situation in. the direction of. the direction of very political.
situation or right no i'm not saying it needs more war i think war will be one of the options that the president will want to consider of course moscow has already decided for war and that's important to understand then so that tehran is that is that is that is absolutely laughable that's absolutely laughable if not decided on war it was the russian side to push the peace talks much harder than the americans ever did big rajamouli showed up kerry made a complete fool out of himself and now we're back to square one except for there's one difference thousands and thousands of more syrians are dead chris stuff go ahead jump in. you know we we have a very strange situation here you know the main culprit of the situation in syria that's that's washington they stand with the big gun behind the back and they say well if we can block may of the parties in syria into doing what we want then we
will refrain from war but if they don't do what we want then we take to war and that's not a situation blackmail under these circumstances is directed against anybody in the wood and the whole world for it's pressurized let me say one thing about the human rights record made up by the united nations the united nations is a very tarnished organization right now because in two thousand and eight they made a contract with nato that nato is being their. new weapon for the interests of the united nations and that's unbelievable you cannot make a group of countries you know the armed forces of the united nations so the impartiality which is the most important good of the united nations that is tarnished that's bad look look back to syria christiane if we want to wait until all the other parties interfering have to stop financing and putting weapons and all sides of course also russia and iran but all sides can you want to jump in
guyon attain easily go ahead jump in well russia and iran are the principal suppliers to the regime the regime is much better armed and equipped and financed then the rebels are i would be glad to see tehran and moscow stop their supply you think it would you would you raise you a great would be a real witch hunter when you were greeted stop arming the rebels simultaneously would you be interested in that kind of negotiation that kind of diplomacy or is it only one sided without a doubt without a doubt there's no there's no question but that the predominance of the violence is by the regime against the syrian people that's why a very large percentage of the. syrians have already to superman totally and that's why you have find that you felt you have your head you have your we certainly are all your. gum on the battlefield it's mostly civilians we have outside fighters who
are there it's a refutable and they're being funded you think washington can't control riyadh to launch a being immortal anymore but there's really modestly or do you think that washington can to control riyadh i don't think washington sans any jihadists there and. i know that i said so you raise the vast. supplies of washington washington sends money you have to you have to talk washington sends money to what a billion dollars in humanitarian assistance how much is russia spent on in the humanitarian assistance the hundred billion dollars where where is the how does it get into syria if you can't have it ceasefire christophe go ahead. really went so principally to sending arms via turkey to syria and spending billions on it and they are even training troops in jordan this is all opened read all american press
it's in there it's official so this is one part the second part is this we cannot have peace in syria without the arms flow to rebels and of course you know at a certain stage when we see the seriousness of those who started this war this was not started by syrian people this was started an organized by cia agents dislocated in the area in all countries of the ira belt in the last two years before two thousand and eleven and now unspoken to liza rice and two thousand and eight she virtually no she threatened democracy on the area and the us made up for that and that's not going to tell you who has never say it's a horrible act if in any way we have to make sure that this arms flow stops from all sides jointly richard jump in here what do you think that any of the powers involved here because you seem to be the one that wants to go from civil
society up and that seems like at this point that's the only way only way to go but how can you do that if you don't know the groups on the ground i mean the people that are doing the fighting don't even want to show up at geneva or any other venue to talk a ceasefire at least at the very least a cease fire. well yes i mean nobody wants to talk about a cease fire. look. a problem is when you're simply when you're operating purely on the ground of power. and that's all you recognize is power relations then you're committing yourself to this kind of the kind of jockeying and the kind of arguing they will you can see on this program and you committing yourself to go to perpetually jocking jockeying on the on the basis that. that what happens in the talks reflects the balance of power if you think that what happens at the talks reflects the balance of power then there's no reason for rationally for either side to talk the regime is winning the civil war so far. so there's not
much reason for them to talk but the opposition's losing it so there's also there's not much reason for them to talk because they don't want that ratified in in peace talks in that this is why it seems to me you have to be talking about the real issues that divide the syrian people and not just purely about these kind of balance of power issues you know that's number one. and number two you know we're also watching the serious deterioration in u.s. russian relations which is a very bad sign for for the world it's a very bad sign for the peace of the world. so we you know we need to think about ways that that deterioration can be arrested. let me go to daniel because we're running out of time here daniel do you do you think that anything would change if assad did leave i mean what why do you focus so much on this one person because this is a regime that wants to survive that's natural and legitimate to actually by any and
standard of international law why do you focus so much on an individual would it be any different if he left i don't i don't i don't focus on an individual i think it's a regime that has to leave because it's lost all credibility with the vast bulk of the syrian people by by violence it's tried to do to syria what was done to chechnya and it's not working and it won't work or what you and i do is united see the americans is a disgrace and if they did to iraq afghanistan libya do we need a repeat of that no i don't yeah i don't think we do we have the only person i don't think there's a great possibility any parts of more violence if we can say is a positive at all or a small. true change nothing regime like they've done in the past christophe i'll give you the last word there is no possibility of american troops on her grounding no reason to receive her yet and that's very telling her star everybody is let's face it also last words they have not recovered until now it's very clear unless we
all agree you would white that the us and their proxies saudi arabia and qatar started this war on syria that's what it is and they do this against the syrian people and the cia analyzed that it is the syrian people in the majority supporting the assad regime please swallow that it's your own american analysis i believe it i don't like the cia i don't believe the cia but this and that is i believe i think it's correct and that that means very clearly that i think everybody wanted another hour away a country to get out of there and to live run out of time many thanks my guest in washington and in berlin and thanks to our viewers for watching us here narky see you next time and remember crosstalk.
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